talking points for nature guides
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Tips for handling know-it-all visitors
updated Apr 2020
A visitor can be a dream or a nightmare. It's all up to YOU!

More about some typical visitor behaviour that guides may find difficult to handle. Be aware, that half of the problem is YOU.

Suddenly, one of the visitors turns out to be an aggressive know-it-all. "What the scientific name of this?" "How come you don't know what it is?" "I know more about this than you do"

Or the visitor continuously interrupts or contradicts what you say. Or starts talking about something else and starts becoming the guide.

How to find out if there is a know-it-all in your group?

During the introduction, find out more about them. Have they come to the seashores before? Are any of them biologists, scientists, science students? Is there something they are particularly interested in?

Good things about know-it-alls

They are eager to know and to interact with you. Although they may disagree you, they do listen. Often, we may feel intimidated by people who seem to know more than us, but actually, these people may just be very interested and not know that they are being intimidating.

They are eager to share. Encourage them to share.

Ask questions. When you get to a new thing, ask them first what they know about it. Then add on what you know.

Not so good things about know-it-alls

Disruptive and makes you feel confused and depressed.
  • You can try to ignore the visitor and just move on.
  • If it really gets you down, shorten the trip so that the situation in minimised. There is no reason for you to have a bad time because of a badly behaved visitor. If he contradicts you, just firmly state what you think is correct and move on. If the other members of the team choose to believe him instead of you, there is really not much you can do without turning the situation ugly, so let it go.

Don't be a bad guide. Be a good guide instead.

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